Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister and National Conference leader Omar Abdullah on Wednesday criticised the Bharatiya Janata Party for not allowing his party to hold a meeting even as members of the saffron party gathered to celebrate the first anniversary of the abrogation of Article 370.
On August 5, 2019, the BJP-led central government had revoked the erstwhile state’s special status and split the region into Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh. The Centre had also passed a bill repealing Article 35A, which ensured specific rights and protections to residents of the state. Since then, the region has been placed under the strictest lockdown in its history, with 4G internet services still suspended.
Abdullah shared an image of Gupkar Road outside his father Farooq Abdullah’s residence and tweeted: “One year on, this is Gupkar road today – police vehicles opposite our gates, concertina wire strung across the road at regular intervals and no vehicles allowed. My father had called a meeting of leaders of mainstream parties to deliberate on the current situation.”
The National Conference leader said that it seemed like their meeting was not going to be allowed, but the BJP was instead allowed to declare a “15-day celebration to mark” a year since the Centre’s August 5 decision. “...a handful of us are not allowed to meet in my father’s lawn. So much for BJP national leaders wondering why there is no political activity,” he said.
“One year later the authorities are still too afraid to allow us to meet much less carry out any normal political activity. This fear speaks volumes about the true situation on the ground in Kashmir,” Abdullah tweeted.
The Kashmiri politician also hit out at BJP leaders in the region and said they were “displaying hypocrisy”. “They can gather and celebrate,” he wrote in a separate tweet. “The rest of us can’t even meet to discuss what is happening in Jammu and Kashmir.”
On Tuesday, the Jammu and Kashmir administration announced a complete curfew in Kashmir ahead of the anniversary of the revocation of special status. The Srinagar district magistrate in an order said they had received inputs about separatists and Pakistan-sponsored groups planning to observe August 5 as “Black Day”. But by late evening, the curfew was lifted.
Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Wednesday said the order, lifting the two-day curfew, was a mere hogwash.